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Joseph F. Kessler

Partner; Chair, Real Estate Group; Co-Chair, Real Estate Repositioning Group
Primary Office
1500 Market St., Suite 3500E
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Direct(215) 575-7198
Fax(215) 575-7200
457 Haddonfield Rd., Suite 700
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Direct(856) 675-1964
Fax(856) 663-8855


Madeline Natal
Direct(215) 575-7091

Joseph F. Kessler has a multi-dimensional practice that covers the spectrum of real estate and corporate clients. Joe’s diverse and sophisticated background, including managing real estate litigation provides one source for the contractors, real estate developers, REITs, public utility, middle-market companies, public authorities, family-owned businesses, and non-profit corporations that he has represented in all matters of corporate governance, development, financing, construction, leasing, and sales of commercial real estate. Through the totality of these experiences, Joe is viewed by many clients as both a counselor and strategic thinker.

Joe has experience regarding health care facilities leasing, mixed-use projects, including student housing and parking projects, and green building principles. Over his career, Joe has managed complex real estate litigation, including representing the country’s largest title insurance underwriters with respect to title insurance law.  More recently, Joe has represented clients in eminent domain proceedings and real estate tax appeals for commercial property owners, primarily in the City of Philadelphia.

Joe is a founding member of Saint Joseph’s University’s Real Estate and Construction Alumni Advisory Board and is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees. He has been a guest lecturer at St. Joe’s for its real estate courses.

Representative Experience

  • Represents clients in over two billion dollars of acquisitions, sales leases and financings on an annual basis.
  • Formed and represents a private operating foundation in Bethlehem, PA to preserve Pennsylvania’s industrial history. 
  • Represents a Fortune 100 energy company in the acquisition of its regional headquarters as well as sales and acquisitions of major assets, leases, tax appeals and real estate litigation.
  • Provides real estate expertise to global investment bank in public/private offerings secured by single purpose government leased assets
  • Represented the developer of Walnut Towers (8th & Walnut) in structuring a mixed use condominium project involving acquisition, zoning, condominium documents, refinance of bond financing and, development of air rights, including sale to joint venture for development of a medical office tower.
  • Represents a local WBE general contractor in general corporate matters, as well as construction dispute resolution.
  • Represents and counsels $25M family owned real estate companies in generational planning, problem solving and all real estate activities.
  • Represents owners of single assets and portfolios of assets in successful real estate tax appeals.
  • Represented a national real estate investment trust in negotiation of a lease in a suburban mall for a health care facility and sale of shopping centers.
  • Represented title insurance underwriters and insureds in complex real estate title litigation.
  • Recently appointed guardian ad litem in a new Jersey Pro-bono matter.

Professional & Community Activities

  • Government Affairs Committee Member, General Building Contractors Association
  • Fellow in the Construction Lawyers Society of America
  • Legal Counsel, Saint Joseph’s University Veterans Entrepreneurial Jumpstart Program
  • Member, Saint Joseph's University Board of Trustees through May, 2021
  • Founding Board Member, Saint Joseph’s University Real Estate and Construction Alumni Advisory Board
  • Board Member, Coaches vs. Cancer
  • Former Chairman of the Board and President, Green Building United (formerly Delaware Valley Green Building Council) 2015 and 2016 and Sponsorship Chair for Road to US Greenbuild 
  • Member, American Land Title Association (ALTA)
  • Member, Pennsylvania Land Title Association (PLTA)
  • Member, General Builders & Contractors Association
  • Member of New Jersey and Pennsylvania Bar

Speeches & Presentations

  • Moderator and Planner, St. Joseph's University Real Estate and Construction- The Effects of COVID-19 on the Real Estate Market--What Will the Future Bring, December 2020.
  • Moderator and Planner, St. Joseph's University Real Estate and Construction Symposium - Philadelphia's Development and (Real Estate) Tax Revolution, Fall 2018.
  • Moderator, "Disclosure Mandates and Codes: Cities, States and Municipalities," Delaware Valley Green Building Council's 2015 Tri-State Sustainability Symposium, March 6, 2015.
  • Moderator, "Healthcare & Higher Education Summit: Incentives and Financial Resources for Sustainability," Delaware Valley Green Building Council, November 18, 2014.
  • Panelist, "National Constitution Center: Its History and Construction," National Association of College and University Attorneys Convention, June 20, 2013.
  • Moderator, "Transactions Outlook," RealShare Philadelphia, March 7, 2013.
  • Moderator, “What You Need to Know About the City’s New Zoning Code.”
  • Panelist, "Building the Capital Stack for Commercial Real Estate 2012."
  • Chairperson, Saint Joseph’s Real Estate and Construction Alumni Holiday Luncheon.
  • Title Insurance Law Symposiums.
  • Planner, Presenter, "Managing Clients’ Expectations in Volatile Market."

Professional Recognition

  • Recipient of the Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., Real Estate Leader of the Year Award presented by St. Joseph’s University, 2016
  • Philadelphia Business Journal "Leaders in the Law"
  • Listed in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2004–2020

No aspect of these rankings has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Further information on methodologies is available via these links.

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Alternate Biographies




  • J.D., Villanova University School of Law, Law Review, 1982
  • B.A., summa cum laude, St. Joseph's University, 1979

Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania, 1982
  • New Jersey, 1982
  • United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1982
  • United States District Court District of New Jersey, 1982
  • United States Court of Appeals Third Circuit